Annecy: ‘Animal Crackers’ Team Re-ups for Scott Christian Sava, Jaime Maestro and Thomason’s ‘Pet Robots’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Ratatouille’'s Carter Goodrich designing main characters

ANNECY, France — Scott Christian Sava‘s U.S.-based Blue Dream Studios has kicked-off pre-production on animated feature “Pet Robots.” First designs, pictured above, and to which Variety has had exclusive access, are by Carter Goodrich, a double Annie winner in for character design for “The Croods,” and “Ratatouille.”

Voice casting begins next week, Sava said. Most talent working on “Pet Robots” so far has come from “Animal Crackers.”

“Pet Robots” is about a school-class which goes on a field trip to the Rooty Tooty Toy Factory where four of the kids get separated from their class and discover four soldier robots that bond with them and follow them home. But the owner of the Rooty Tooty Toy Factory, Vandenburger Meisterburger, wants them back, obviously,

The script was penned by Sava, David Wise, whose credits include the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” TV series and Audry Taylor.

Armand Serrano (“Zootopia,” “Big Hero Six”) has designed the Pet Robots and will take on artistic direction.

To be directed by Sava, Jamie Thomason (producer of “Crackers” and voice director on TV skeins “Phineas and Ferb” and “Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters”), and Jaime Maestro, whose credits include Goya-winning short “The Smoke Seller.” “Robots” is a Sava passion project based on a graphic novel he wrote for his twin boys 11 years ago.

The graphic novel was optioned by Disney within a week of the book’s release with Colin Trevorrow, who went on to “Jurassic World” and “Star Wars” hired to write the screenplay. Put into turnaround by Disney, “Pet Robots” was also optioned by Fox.

“The idea with ‘Robots’ is to use “Crackers’” artistic and technical talent and to step up in budget and creative ambition, said Spanish co-director Maestro,

A Sega of America co-founder, Sava designed arcade games and worked as an illustrator for 20 years, taking multiple positions on “Casper the Friendly Ghost” and “Star Wars” and “Spider-Man,” among other franchises. Sava set up Blue Dream Studios in 2000. The company has also been active in publishing (“Pet Robots,” “My Grandparents Are Secret Agents”).

“Crackers,” on which there is good word, world-premieres on June 12 at France’s Annecy Festival. Feature follows Owen Huntington’s family whose life takes a large turn when the father inherits a shabby circus and a box of magical crackers with the peculiar virtue of turning people who eat them into animals.

Co-directed by Sava, Tony Bancroft (Annie award winner “Mulan”) and Maestro, ”Crackers” is produced by U.S.-based Blue Dream Studios and Storyoscopic Films, Blue Dream Studios Spain, which is based out of Valencia on Spain’s eastern seaboard, China Film Co. and Beijing Wen Hua Dong Run Investment Co. Cast includes Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Ian McKellen, Danny DeVito, Sylvester Stallone, Tara Strong, Raven-Simone and Patrick Warburton.

“Animal Crackers” sales are handled by Arclight Films. Many territories are already covered including U.K. and Canada (Entertainment One), Russia (All Media Company), Entermode (South Korea),  China (China Film Group), Brazil (Imagem Films), India (Picture Works). A U.S. release is expected for this fall. The distributor will be announced shortly.

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